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Physics Advice for becoming a theoretical physicist

  1. Sep 21, 2016 #1
    I am 14 and I have had an uncommon interest in math and science (mostly math). I have recently gotten into the mysteries of quantum physics. What I have heard about theoretical physics is that it requires manipulating data to create equations then find the why's and what's for phenomena. I feel like it would be great if I could get advice for the future. Please don't say something like "effort will get you there!" I have heard this too many times.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 21, 2016 #2
    What is your question??
  4. Sep 21, 2016 #3
    My bad for not making it clear (I wrote it at 12:07 AM). I was asking for advice for becoming a theoretical physicist.
  5. Sep 21, 2016 #4
  6. Sep 22, 2016 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    So based on the timestamp I see on your post, you're in the USA. And from your age, you're probably in 8th or 9th grade.

    Besides the excellent series of articles by ZapperZ that Greg pointed you to, the main advice I can give you right now is to do well in your math and science courses through high school, and don't neglect your other courses in the process. Don't use your high school physics course to bypass your college's freshman physics course (via AP credit or whatever). If you want to use AP credit to bypass courses, do it with general-education stuff, not with stuff that's required for your physics major.

    If you like reading stuff outside your classes, by all means do it, but I would use it as a way to learn about the history of physics and get a feeling for the various fields and how they fit together. Don't think you're a failure if you don't know how to solve Schrödinger's equation for the hydrogen atom by the time you finish high school, but it's good to be aware that this was a major milestone in the development of quantum physics in the 1920s.
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